The U.S. Forest Service has awarded 90-day contracts for 14 helicopters that can lift at least 1,600 pounds. The list was released by the agency May 8, and is a result of a solicitation requesting bids for 30 helicopters that were already on Call When Needed contracts in three tiers — capable of lifting up to 1,600, 3,300, or 7,000 pounds. The Forest Service was looking for 10 helicopters in each tier, if available, with Mandatory Availability Periods commencing on either June 1st or June 15th.
Released Friday were 14 helicopters in the >1,600 tier.
It remains to be seen if the agency will award additional 90-day helicopter contracts in the 3,300 and 7,000 pound tiers.
As we wrote April 22, the four-year exclusive use contracts for Type 1 firefighting helicopters issued in 2016 expired April 30. Since new contracts based on the solicitation issued November 15, 2019 have not yet been awarded the Forest Service has given 30-day contracts to a handful of vendors. The agency has refused to provide to us any details about the 30-day contracts.